Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back to the Future

You know, there's a reason why God made time a linear thing. Something happens in the present, and when it's God-awful, by His very grace it is soon in the past. Of course this happens for fabulous things too, but at least those things - now called memories - we can replay all we want and enjoy them still. The God-awful crap we can pretend never happened and try to get on with our lives. Unless the past comes back to haunt us. Or you sign up for Facebook.

Both happened to me this week. Well, I signed up for Facebook a while ago. But man, did my past come back to haunt me the other day. Compared to this particular memory I assigned to the "Do Not Recall Unless Desiring an Anger Flair-up and/or Depression" file, any and all memories drudged up on Facebook are like skating. Ice skating. Scott Hamilton ice skating on new blades on freshly Zambonied ice.

I was on set one day this week talking to wardrobe when who should drive up on her motorcycle but a woman (that's a nice name for her) I worked with almost 10 years ago during what was the most painful eight month period of my life doing a national tour of a musical. This woman was the bad-guy lead in the show. Total typecasting. She's a squat, butchy woman with an artificial smile and a black soul (Muah Ha Haaa...) I feel comfortable saying she is probably the last person I'd choose to have a reunion with. But there she was, in all her stubby glory, an actor in this episode. She didn't see me, so I had time to decide what I wanted to do. I wasn't upset, more like, is this for real?? I mean, I left her in Baltimore 10 years ago! Why isn't she still there?!


Where am I now? Can her barbs still affect me the way they did then? What do I do? I took a quick assessment of myself and realized no, she can't still affect me. I'm not the same person I was then. I've lived a whole life or two since then. I am a happy and loving person, and even Cruella De Vil couldn't bring me back down to that depressed, helpless shell I left in Baltimore. I waited until I saw her at lunch and we greeted each other, I with a hug for her (insert calculating grin, here). I don't think she was expecting that. Nor was she likely expecting me to be so civil to her. I was, in fact, as friendly to her as I'd have been to a stranger, not a backstabber like her (Whoops, did I say that out loud?). The encounter went exceedingly well and I left it feeling no better or worse than I had before. In other words, despite her foray into my present, she remained in the past.

But it got me thinking, what's with the past coming up like that?? Is the world really just one big Facebook moment waiting to happen? Facebook has been a wonderful tool for reconnecting me with long disconnected high school (and college) friends. I'll concede, it's odd to catch up with a long-lost friend by reading back entries of his blog. But it's also been a powerful witness to reality. It says a lot when the friend you've known since you were twelve and who claims to always be too busy to call or email you has time to repeatedly update her status but not to drop a "Hey, Jan!! How r u? Thinking of u, luv u XXXOOO" on your wall. I'll call it my Ah ha moment. Ah ha, this was my best friend, but is not really anymore. The lightbulb comes on.

Are we really destined to have our past permanently intertwined with our present? Oh, me. Oh, simplicity. Oh, rotary dial phones, home milk delivery and radio dramas. You were so enjoyable.

I need to stop typing now. I've got a bit of candle left and I want to read today's newspaper.

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